Title: Christmas at Hope Cottage
Author: Lily Graham
Genre: Holiday, Magic, Romance
Summary: In the little village of Whistling, with its butterscotch cottages and rolling green hills, snow is beginning to fall. Christmas is coming, and Emma Halloway is on her way home.
When thirty-year-old food writer Emma Halloway gets dumped then knocked off her bike, she’s broken in more ways than one, and returns to her family’s cosy cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Emma hasn’t been back in some time, running from her crazy relatives and her childhood sweetheart, Jack Allen.
Emma’s grandmother is determined to bake her back to health and happiness, as the Halloways have done for generations. Surrounded by old friends and warm cinnamon buns, Emma starts to believe in her family’s special talents for healing again. But then in walks Jack with his sparkling hazel eyes, stirring up the family feud between them.
As the twinkly lights are strung between the streetlamps, Emma remembers just why she fell for Jack in the first place… and why a Halloway should never date an Allen.
The infuriating new lodger, Sandro, doesn’t believe anyone should have to choose between love and family. With a little bit of Christmas magic, can Emma and Jack find a way to be together, or will Emma find herself heartbroken once more?
This book was definitely magic, and definitely not what I was expecting it to be. That is awesome, because I love being surprised, and this was a very pleasant surprise.
Emma is different. I don’t really know how to explain but she lacks the sameness that a lot of romantic protagonists have and it’s not a bad thing. She is stubborn, and vulnerable and perhaps a little fractured but without being too overly melodramatic. Something about her just hit all the right notes for me.
Sandro is lovely. He is smooth as butter and he seems to know it too. He is charming but not without flaws and isn’t overly macho.
Her aunt’s are interesting, each with their own individual personality, but all of them on Emma’s side in a way that made me cheer them on, even though I sometimes didn’t agree with some of their manner of showing it.
The plot of this novel was so delicately put together, and I was enraptured with the way Lily Graham writes about these characters and settings. It is vivid, and warm, and at times not without bitterness. The fantasy side of the plot was not heavy handed, and was an enjoyable thread linking the plot together.
This is not really a holiday novel, not in the sense that most holiday books are, oversaturated with Christmas, in fact I would say this could be read throughout the year and I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself picking it up again. This is a book worth reading, and re-reading again.
<b>Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review</b>